4.0, Korea

Night and Day

2008 / Hong Sang-soo > For Hong, this is beyond return to form: It’s an impressive work that shoves aside much of the quirkiness of his previous stories and focuses on the loneliness faced by a Korean in Paris. Once again, we deal with themes of love, longing and faithfulness, but the plot devices are much more identifiable this time around. Instead of abstract meetings on trains, we have introductions and rekindling of past relationships. But beyond that, it’s hard to describe. It’s so layered that it’s nearly impossible to reach an emotional consensus upon the first viewing. But what it does do is stay with you afterwards, nagging, making you wonder if the decisions made in the film are akin to decisions you would make yourself. That’s definitely Hong’s hook, though—reveling in our self-doubts about life and the opposite sex. We watch his films to learn more about ourselves, and this is no exception.